Best in Automotive from CES 2013

Now that the Consumer Electronics Show, one of the largest shows of its kind, has wrapped up for 2013. RedlineNorth takes a look at three automotive focused gadgets and developments exhibited at the show this year.

Viper SmartStart

Viper SmartStart with Siri integration

Viper SmartStart with Siri integration

First up Viper, a maker of remote car starters, security systems and car accessories have release version 3.0.1 of their SmartStart application.  What makes this app unique is Siri integration, Apple’s voice automation assistant.  With a compatible iOS device using SmartStart, one can lock or unlock their car, activate the alarm, or even remotely start their car using voice commands conceivably anywhere in the world there is cellphone coverage.

Through the app you can also get the current status of your vehicle, such as whether you left the doors unlocked, or whether the engine is still running.  Great for those absent-minded days everyone gets once in a while.

You have to wonder though, what happens if your phone gets lost or stolen and someone figures out they can a) locate your vehicle, b) unlock the doors and c) start the engine.  That being said a lot of people have so much of their lives integrated in their smartphones it’s just another argument for a good password and security system for your phone.  In the end, for those looking for a remote starter option may want to consider SmartStart.

Check out the following video Viper has released showing how to use their SmartStart app, including the Siri voice activated remote start feature.

Ford/GM Software Development

gm-logo Ford_logo

Both General Motors and Ford announced at the show that they will be opening up the source code of their systems to allow third-party developers to integrate apps within their vehicles.

In the case of GM, they will offer developers a software development kit, or SDK, to allow developers to work with GM to design, test and deliver integrated automotive apps. Starting in the 2014 model year, drivers of GM vehicles will gain access to a catalog of apps through their infotainment system, such as The Weather Channel, or Slacker Radio. In addition, drivers may be able to download applications to help them in driving more safely, or in a more fuel efficient manner, possibly reducing the cost of operating their vehicle.

Given the sheer number of apps being produced for Android and iOS devices, it was only a matter of time before automakers allowed third-party developers to get involved in the app development process for vehicles.  It’s a welcomed trend that will give consumers more and better choices of applications for their vehicles and RedlineNorth hopes it continues with the other manufacturers.

Autonomous Vehicles

Both Audi and Toyota joined the likes of Google in showing off their concepts for autonomous vehicles. Toyota showed off a Lexus LS at the show kitted with cameras, radar, a LIDAR laser, and multiple sensors allowing the vehicle to scan and detect the movement of objects around it up to 70 meters away (Source: PC Mag).

Audi’s offering was both an A6 and A7 with prototype hardware and software added to automate a number of tasks.  In the case of the prototype A7, Audi shows off its driverless automated parking ability in the video below.

While not ready for mass production, these concept vehicles are pushing the envelope in terms of what may be possible in the future. You won’t be able to buy a driverless vehicle any time soon of course. However, the R&D supporting these vehicles will likely lead to more and more automation being introduced in passenger vehicles in the near future.

There are a number of benefits to developing a fully autonomous vehicle such as relieving the driver from boring repetitive drives, allowing them to be more productive by focusing on other tasks and improving the safety of drivers and pedestrians by duplicating, or even replacing, human driver actions and reactions. In addition, there are benefits to both the environment and pocketbook with potential fuel savings, such as optimizing speed and acceleration based on traffic conditions.


This year, the Consumer Electronics Show reflected the current trend towards vehicle automation. From fully autonomous vehicles, to remote starting your car from around the world by voice, to integrating smart phone apps into the vehicle systems, this trend is only going to continue for many years to come.  RedlineNorth looks forward to the North American International Auto Show, which opens to the public on January 19th, to see what other new technologies the auto industry has in store for drivers this year.

Free Parking Meter iOS App

Free for a limited time (regularly $0.99) is an app that counts down the time remaining on your parking meter.  Within the app you can select predefined time limits, or enter your own. You can also drop a pin on the location of your vehicle in case you have trouble finding it.

Check out the app, Parking Meter Pro, at the following iTunes stores.

Canadian Store
US Store

For all other countries visit the developer’s website.

And hey, if it doesn’t work for you, it’s free!